Making Connections with Others in Recovery and Meeting Scott Strode.
It seems as though I meet someone in recovery almost every day. Sure, I meet people in 12-step meetings and it never ceases to amaze me how often I see people from the halls when I’m out and about.
“Hey, where do I know that guy from? How do I know her?”
Of course, it always come back to knowing them because I’ve heard them speak or maybe I said hello or smiled in a damp church basement.
We are everywhere, so to speak, but that’s comforting, in a weird way. It’s like we have each other’s back, even if it’s acknowledging them with a quick nod or brief smile. I don’t particularly care if anyone knows I’m in recovery, but I’m always aware and respectful of another person’s anonymity.
But the more I’m active in my 12-step program, the more people I meet. And the more people I meet, the more I’m able to build my fellowship; a fellowship that helped save my life.
After I wrote and self-published my own book, ‘And Drink I Did’, my network of people in recovery blew up, not because the book was a smash but because slowly but steadily word of mouth got around that my story was an “honest and no punches pulled account of one man’s story of his battle against alcoholism.” That resonated with people.
It was odd and humbling to have people reach out, but it felt good. I was glad it was reaching people.
Anyway, because of the book, I’ve met some pretty amazing individuals.
One such person is Scott Strode, founder of Phoenix Multisport.
What is Phoenix Multisport exactly?
Here is their mission statement:
Phoenix Multisport fosters a supportive, physically active community for individuals who are recovering from a substance use disorder and those who choose to live sober. Through pursuits such as climbing, hiking, running, strength training, yoga, mountain biking, socials and other activities, we seek to help our members develop and maintain the emotional strength they need to stay sober.
Phoenix’s goal is to expand people’s sober community while creating a safe environment.
People choosing to live a sober lifestyle often find it necessary to make changes to many aspects of their lives, including their socials circles, in order to maintain sobriety. Abrupt changes in lifestyle can lead to loss of support networks, and often cause people to become isolated. Sober people need to make new friends and discover new hobbies and interests, which can be difficult without the social lubricant of drugs or alcohol. Recognizing this challenge, Phoenix Multisport makes every effort to remove barriers to getting involved with our sober community. We host daily, free events where the only requirement is to be sober. We are very welcoming to new members and encourage our regular members to get to know the new folks. In addition to offering our events at no charge, we also provide all necessary gear (the equipment required for the disciplines we teach is often very expensive and can deter people from taking up various sports, so Phoenix Multisport removes these financial barriers to participation).
How cool is that?
Being a personal trainer myself, I know first hand how important physical fitness is to people new to recovery. And because I’m an addict too, I know how hard and scary it can be to meet people in a safe, sober setting.
Phoenix Multisport kills two birds with one stone, so to speak.
I first met Scott when Phoenix opened its first chapter in Boston, my hometown.
He’s a big guy (6’4 or 5, 240 lb.?) but he was so unbelievably humble it was a little unnerving. He’s almost shy, and extremely soft-spoken.
We did a CrossFit class along with a dozen or so other people in recovery and we chatted for a few minutes afterwards. I thanked him for what Phoenix was doing for the sober world and told him he was making a difference in people’s lives. Our talk was brief (Phoenix Multisport is a non-profit and he had to rush off to an event to hopefully find donors), but it was profound.
I’ve met several other people involved in Phoenix (one such woman was featured in a documentary about the heroin epidemic running rampant across America) who continually give back to the sober community through their selfless efforts.
It’s a great feeling knowing that there are people across the globe who are breaking the stigma of addiction in order to help those who are still sick and suffering.
Please, if you’re reading this, do yourself a favor and look up Scott Strode on YouTube and check out his CNN “Heroes of 2012” clip. It’s well worth the two and a half minutes.
And if you’re an addict, make sure you have a box of tissues handy.
Jay Keefe, Director of Happiness and Staff Writer at The Addictions Academy
National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer
Published Author of “And Drink I Did”
Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1MBF5fo